JUNE 12, 2010
“Son Of Patient Complains. Duluth Doctor Sues.”
Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
A Duluth physician is suing the son of a former patient for publicly criticizing his bedside manner. Dr. David McKee, a neurologist with Northland Neurology and Myology, filed the lawsuit, which was made public Friday, in St. Louis County District Court. McKee alleges that Dennis Laurion of Duluth defamed him and interfered with his business by making false statements to various third parties, including the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurological Association, two physicians in Duluth, the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee and St. Luke hospital, among others.
Laurion claims that any statements he made about the doctor were true and that he is immune from any liability to the plaintiff. He referred questions to his Duluth attorney, John Kelly.
McKee is asking for more than $50,000 in damages. The doctor was paged Friday but did not return a call seeking comment. He is being represented by Minneapolis attorney Marshall Tanick, who in a phone interview alleged that Laurion defamed his client in several ways, including posting negative reviews of McKee on various websites. The basis for the lawsuit is the defamatory statements that were made on websites and to other sources, Tanick said. However, by no means does Dr. McKee want to in any way prevent or affect any kind of communications that may be made to the Board of Medical Practice or any other regulatory agencies. The purpose of the lawsuit is to prevent defamation being made on the websites and through other sources.
Kenneth Laurion, 85, a Navy combat medic in the Solomon Islands during World War II, suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and spent four days at St. Luke hospital from April 17-21. He recovered from his condition.
McKee also alleges that the defendant made false statements about him to others including: McKee seemed upset’ that Kenneth Laurion had been transferred from the Intensive Care Unit to a ward room. McKee told the Laurions that he had to spend time finding out if [the patient] had been transferred or died. McKee told the Laurions that 44 percent of hemorrhagic stroke victims die within 30 days. McKee told the patient that he did not need therapy. McKee said that it didn’t matter that the patient gown was hanging from his neck with his backside exposed. McKee blamed the patient for the loss of his time. McKee didn’t treat his patient with dignity.
Defense attorney Kelly said it was a tense and emotional situation for the Laurion family. They were worried about Dad and the doctor comes along and, from their point of view, of what they saw and what they heard, they felt that the doctor didn’t act appropriately toward the father, Kelly said. So, among other things, they saw fit to report it to the hospital and to the Board of Medical Practice, which they have every right to do under the patient Bill of Rights, and they get sued.
Kelly said his client did post ratings of McKee on some websites but said he asked to have them removed, and they were. The defense attorney thinks that the lawsuit is without merit. I think it is an unfortunate incident of someone attempting to punish a person who has spoken out of concern for a family member, Kelly said.